Yvonne Kirby, a landlady with a difference, was a finalist in the Simply Business 200,000 customers competition, with her story of a caring approach to property rental. We went to visit Yvonne in her Leicester home to find out a bit more about her ethos and to discuss her plans for property number four.
With her soft speaking manner and ready smile, it isn’t difficult to see why Yvonne’s tenants are glad to have her as their landlady. Currently renting out three properties and hoping to rely on rental income full time when she reaches 55, Yvonne has taken a compassionate approach to renting. When we opened our competition in the summer to discover some of the country’s best business and landlord stories, lots of landlords entered, but Yvonne’s story stood out.
Yvonne manages her properties herself, and her approach is centred around consideration for her tenants and an effort to make the rental experience as hassle-free and homely as possible; she tells us that she recognises that moving home can be a stressful time. What differentiates Yvonne as a landlady are the little things that she does to make her tenants’ experience more pleasant, including leaving a welcome card with wine and chocolates to greet the new occupants, and offering them help with moving in.
In the interview, Yvonne told us that her motivation for wanting to do things differently was a personal one; struggling to find a house that she wanted to buy, in 2009 she was a tenant herself as she searched for the perfect property. She couldn’t believe how badly she was treated as a tenant by the letting agents, and when she later found herself in the position to buy two properties, she was convinced that a refreshing approach to property rental was much-needed.
This hasn’t just benefited Yvonne’s tenants, but has also helped Yvonne to make her way as a successful landlady. Tenants for property number two had already received a glowing review of Yvonne from the tenants of her first property, and the value of word-of-mouth has meant that Yvonne’s need to advertise has been minimal. It’s also paved the way for a good relationship with her tenants – she was delighted to receive a Christmas card from them, and has been invited round for coffee. A strong, trusting relationship between tenant and property owner has also ironed out many of the usual bumps in rental – Yvonne says that she hasn’t suffered from void periods or late payments so far.
It was heartening to hear about one woman’s efforts to make renting a positive experience, and at Simply Business we wish Yvonne the best of luck in her efforts to find her next property and to provide a great experience for more of Leicester's renters.